How valuable is the balsa tree to nature? Should I allow the continued felling of these trees (for the wind-turbine industry) to bother me? Many people shrug and say, “Balsa is like a weed, it grows back fast.”
Yes, but —
Today I will smile and delegate the defense of balsas to National Geographic:
I will always treasure the first time I saw a kinkajou raiding a balsa of its nectar – a memory that will last ‘a lifetime.’
What is the threshold? How much is too much before the flora and fauna struggle to survive?
National Geographic’s story about the Balsa research in Panama can be found here: Open all Night.
Sometimes photos become a much-needed spokesperson for the balsas.
The tree became the poster child for the show in 2019, and the present exposition (Step into my World) at Museo Portoviejo.
The Groove-billed Anis (below) inspected the felled balsas in the not-so-protected protected forest of Poza Honda.
Internet search: “How many balsa trees are used to make one wind turbine?”
I did not expect to get instant answers.
A few minutes before that search began, an article mentioned Green Energy, which raised my hackles when I read, “…Earth’s electricity needs could be met 11 times over if we filled our oceans with wind turbines…”
“Fill our oceans with wind turbines?” At the cost of deforesting Ecuador and other areas of the Neotropics?
(Lisa’s eyes have never been so wide!)
My search for data about wind turbine construction sailed me straight to recently published articles about this ‘green energy’ affecting Ecuador.
A new site to me – ‘Open Democracy’ – asked in a story published today, “What has the destruction of balsa trees in the Amazon rainforest got to do with the wind power industry in Europe?
Sadly, more than you think.“
That story is here: A green paradox: Deforesting the Amazon for wind energy in the Global North
I sometimes refer to an expanding group of concerned people as the ‘Davids’ who are building strength against the Goliaths of the planet.
Another recent story in Spanish from el Pais:
And one more story of interest from January 2021 breaks down the details. Wind-watch.org shares the story from the Economist. A worrying windfall – The wind-power boom set off a scramble for balsa wood in Ecuador
The open Democracy video, is well worth the time to learn more about the dilemma:
As the midnight hour approaches, I hold you all in my heart. Thank you for caring and for your empathy. The earth thanks you. The balsas thank you. The kinkajous thank you as well.